AIEA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Aiea businesses are raising concerns about a man who collects mountains of used tires near the Pearl Harbor Bike Path, calls the property where he lives "The Republic of Hope," and has declared himself its "discoverer and governor."
The business owners says Chuck Milburn is a nuisance, and is illegally squatting on the property and putting neighbors and the environment at risk.
"He has mountains and mountains of tires that he is not disposing of," said Kevin Farm, who owns the property next to where Milburn has set up his business. "If that pile ever caught on fire, we would have a major major incident."
But Milburn says he's doing nothing wrong. He claims he's entitled to run his business without paying taxes or filing permits.
He calls the property where he has set up, behind HomeWorld Furniture on Kamehameha Highway, the "Republic of Hope" and says he answers to the "Republic."
Milburn showed Hawaii News Now documents with a map that he'd titled "The Republic of Hope." Official city tax maps indicate no owner for the parcel.
State, city and federal agencies appear not to be stepping in because of a lack of a clear owner.
But that lack of action has added to neighbors' frustration.
Farm said aside from the fire hazard, the standing water in tires is an ideal habitat for mosquitoes.
"The back of your yard and when it rains, it collects. So that's a natural home, a breeding area for mosquitoes and dengue," Farm said.
Farm wants to sell his land, but said Milburn's activities have discouraged buyers.
"It's important to clean up the area sooner than later because once the rail station is there and you have all that crap looking like that, it's not gonna look good for the city and state," Farm said.